Superlift's 3/4-Ton Chevy Kit Knuckles Up 6 Inches Of Altitude
Chevy/GMC 2500HDs are popular heavy haulers, especially with the Duramax/Allison drivetrain. These 3/4-ton Chevys ride higher than their K1500 1/2-ton counterparts, but a highway-friendly stance off the assembly line can leave them a little low for off-road performance.
Superlift has offered a 7-inch "bracket-style" Chevy 2500HD lift kit since shortly after the platform was introduced in 1999. The bracket system is a proven performer that fits up to 37-inch-tall tires. Its only drawback is the number of parts, which makes installation a 10-hour-plus job (even for pros) by the time the torsion bars are adjusted and the wheels are aligned.
Superlift recently introduced another kit, which includes many of the still-available bracket system's features but adds replacement knuckles. The main benefit is that the knuckles save substantial installation time by retaining the factory steering system and leaving the upper control arms in their stock locations. Superlift's proprietary nodular-iron knuckle castings only increase front track width by 1.8 inches per side. This is necessary for wheel clearance, but some manufacturers' knuckles add up to 6 overall inches to the front track, which is already wider than the rear from the factory. Handling suffers and components become more stressed as the front track grows. (Superlift's bracket kit retains factory front track and allows retaining the stock wheel backspacing.)
Both systems use laser-cut, 0.25-inch-thick plate steel and DOM tubing for load-bearing components. Ride quality and handling are kept stock-like by retaining the factory torsion bars and rear leaf springs. Ride can be stiffened by using a heavier-rate GM torsion bar.
The basic knuckle kit follows the great-bang-per-buck theme Superlift's become famous for. HD owners who want to go even further can choose among many options. These include the TruSpeed speed correction box for larger tires, a steering stabilizer, a stainless steel skidplate, and a choice of two upgraded shocks: Superide Select (SS) Bilstein monotubes or SSR monotubes with remote reservoirs.
Superlift offers its Chevy 2500HD 6-inch knuckle kit for '99-'07 4x4 applications. Superlift recommends professional installation since specialized tools and some welding and cutting are required. Also, trimming the corners off the front valance is all that's necessary to fully clear 35-inch-tall tires.
Nonstock wheel backspacing is also required for knuckle clearance (although the OE spare can be used in an emergency). Backspacing must be between 4.625 and 5 inches, and wheel diameter must be a minimum of 16 inches (to clear the front calipers). 4x4 applications with the OE single exhaust will also need a rerouted crossover pipe to clear the front driveshaft.
The photos here show highlights from the Superlift R&D department's quality-control fitment session. With photo delays, the job took pros Scott Lee and J.P. Pritchard a full day. Ace-wrench home mechanics who are considering doing the installation themselves should set aside substantially more time and use a vehicle hoist if at all possible.
The upshot: a 2500HD that rides high on tires up to 35x12.50. Cargo-carrying capacity is unaffected, and ride quality remains close to stock.